Help with Commercial FLowerbed Bid

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by smlavin, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. smlavin

    smlavin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I've never attempted a flowerbed rework before on this scale!:eek:

    The landscaping all exist but, man, is it covered with weeds! It's a Fairview Inn bid and it has 3500 sq ft of overgrown flowerbeds. It looks like a weed infested jungle.

    I figure a 3.5" bed of shredded red hardwood mulch will require 37 yards of mulch! (My cost at $35 per yard=$1300)

    I also don't have a weed-control license so I would need to plow the weeds down to separate the weeds from plants and then sub out the spraying.


    How much should I plan for to have someone spray the beds after I do some preliminary work of separating plants from weeds?

    What should I bid? (I'm thinking this is a $3000 job + the cost of the sub but I don't have a clue. I don't want to lowball either)

    Also, since the place is in such bad condition I figure this is a warning sign that the guy may be a non-payer. I will require 50% up front, 25% more when I am half complete, and the remainder due at completion. How does this sound?

    I could really use some help. I don't won't to lose my shirt or drive the value of landscaping down in my area.

  2. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    Well welcome to the commercial world, working with a commercial client can be very hard, they expect a lot and especially the hotels. They want the property looking in tip top shape so it appeals to their clients. In my experience at working at commercial complexes, such as a hotel, which my boss has about 12 he maintains, we always weed flower beds, by hand or with tools. The only time we use a weed killer is for parking lots and sidewalk weeds. So I would weed, replant(if needed), and mulch. If you do a good job you will definently get paid, but if your work isn't what the manager wanted your gonna lose your shirt. Work with the manager and try to best understand what exactely they want done, so you can give them they want. Getting money up front might be a problem, but if you explain its for materials you'll have better luck. Also I would try as much as possible not to sub any work out, if you do so this might show you can't handle the workload alone, managers want someone that can handle everything, so they don't have to deal with several different people. Good luck with the job, tell me how it goes.

  3. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    Is the manager of the hotel a foreigner? If he is don't even bother with this one.
  4. CamLand

    CamLand LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,299

    please i beg to here your reasoning for your remarks..:confused:
  5. smlavin

    smlavin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183


    Thanks for all the help it will make my decision easier. I am thinking of passing on the flowerbed bid and just submitting a maintenance agreement. The job is just too big for me unless I could do parts of it over a couple of weeks, but I really don't think that would be best for me or him.


    He is a foreigner from India. I was told that that meant I would get paid but that generally speaking he would look for a lowball bid. I don't like to stereotype but since he has been willing to let his beds get this out of control that gives me an indication that he isn't too quick to put money into lawn maintenance. I can't say that it's because he is foreign, but it does appear to be the mark of someone who is cheap. I also have to believe that, as bad as the place looks, for an almost new hotel that other LCO's have passed on this guy before.

    The size of the job and the bad condition of the landscape give me real pause! ;) I'll have to give it some more thought. Bid isn't due until Monday.

    Thanks again.
  6. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    Cam when I said foreigners i meant middle easterners and Indians. I'm just speaking for myself and my experiences on this subject. I'll give you 3 examples. #1 When I first start I picked up a exxon. Manager was middle eastern. I had no contract with him. Very small lot, it was $45 per cut and an $40 for hedges. I did the property a few times and it was always a hassle getting paid. On the third visit he wanted the hedges done also. Total was $85. When we were done he handed me $22. I asked him what this was for, he said this was my payment. I said no it's not it's $85 we just talked about the price an hour ago, he said I know but you guys were only here for an hour so $22 is fair. I demanded the rest of the money and I think he got the hint and paid the rest. #2 Picked up a Days Inn owned by an Indian. He signed a 12 month contract. 1 month into contract he's trying to get me to do extra things for free every visit. I showed him the contract stating what was to be done and any work performed outside the scope of this agreement would be extra. He didn't understand. Everytime he would make excuses about paying. You didn't do this and that and I say I know it's not in the contract. Some of the extras he wanted done was planting japanese maples. He had no seasonal color when we started and didn't want any. Then a few months after we start he now wants seasonal color everywhere but doesn't want to pay for it. I cancelled his contract. #3 Picked up a Best Western owned by an Indian. He signed contract. Same thing as #2. Wanted tons of extra but not gonna pay. He had an empty lot behind him that wasn't his and all of the sudden he wants us to start mowing it. No way. He didn't understand. It'll only take 15 minutes he said. Cancelled his contract also. These are just my experienced take it for what it's worth. I will not deal with them anymore. It's a waste of time and effort. Contracts and agreements were worthless to them.

    smlavin go with your gut feeling on this one. There is a reason why his place looks like crap. You know the answer. Don't waste your time with this clown.
  7. lucky4511

    lucky4511 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    i agree totally...we bid for an indian woman to edge and mulch, small amt of pruning and plant some bulbs and mums. i gave her our price and she wanted it done for less....we talked two times and she wanted the pricing in writing, each job listed separately - at my best price. when i told her i always give my best price up front she said oh now don't cut back on the quality. so i am thinking yeah, just cut back on my profit!! i gave her my price and she finally accepted. we have done work for two other indian people and they always say the same thing! we recently lost one of them because she didn't like my leaf clean up price. one of their lines has been "i don't want to spend too much money, i am going to put my house on the market" neither house is up for sale yet!
  8. Meadowbrook

    Meadowbrook LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 467

    Very understandable. I wouldn't say don't bid, I'd just make sure that a contract is signed before anything is touched + maybe 40% down? I also did work for a middle-easterner, he was good at first (we did his retaining walls/raised beds in front of the restaurant) but as we kept on doing more and more services, he kept wanting a lower and lower price. Finally when it was all said and done, he bounced a check for $50...thats right, $50, and we didn't get the contract to landscape the walls/ raised beds. But just to save face, the night that I sat down to read my mail, I got the letter from my bank telling me that the check bounced, I proceeded to go down to his restaurant, on a Friday night (quite busy) and stated quite loudly that he bounced a check for $50 and I wanted paid on the spot CASH. He paid out, and a few months later the restaurant shut down, multiple people were thrown in prison, and the owner was deported back to Egypt. Gee, think it had anything to do with us not getting the landscape?

  9. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    not at all trying to add to the stereotype, but i was burned years back by a middle eastern

    i picked up 15 properties form him, all decent accounts, a small medical office comples, two hotels, bank, 5 dairy queens etc...

    signed a contract with him in april. the contract was fot 12 payments of $X.
    he used my service through the season , and the last month he fired me. he had had no compalints, tec, but fired me so he would not have to make the last 5 payments.

    the SOB called me again the next spring to try and get me to come back...

    i would pass on the bid.
    if you are going to let another LCO on your property to do the bed, that can be a problem.

    also whenever i go to a propery and it has been "let go" i become very wairy.

    means to me that landscape is not thier priority, and therefore will not treat you like the professional you are.

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